AN: No, I haven't given up. Just struggled with my muse a bit (read: a lot) is all.

Still waiting for the remake of the anime – a year on from its original release date, mind you – it has a name now, at least – Sailor Moon Crystal. I've seen a picture that is apparently its new style – looks good – can't wait!

As always a huge thanks to those that PM me and bother me to update this, you guys rock!

"Hello Endymion." Beryl's voice was smooth, even sweet and sickening to the core.

The Prince's stomach roiled in his gut for an instant, before he took a calming breath and replied;

"Beryl."He kept his voice flat and emotionless. He wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of seeing his fear or revulsion, though the shifting his stance and testing his grip on his sword may have given him away, because one corner of her lips lifted in a more pronounced smirk than before.

"And I see you know who this is?" Beryl gestured gallantly to the thing at her feet in the coffin, its skeletal form twitching and writhing even as its glowing yellow eyes focused on them with an intensity that was unsettling in the extreme. It seemed to be lodged in place, masses of dark green and grey tentacles growing from its arms and legs to attach to the coffin-like box it was in. if it had once been humanoid it wasn't anymore.

Beside him, Artemis and Luna shifted nervously. He was pretty sure he heard Artemis gulp.

"But for those of you yet to become acquainted with her Great and Terrible Majesty, this is Metallia, Queen of the Black Dark." Beryl announced, gesturing like she was at a high society soiree and introducing peers of the realm.

The thing shifted, letting out a wet, smacking noise from the mouth seemed to split its skull horizontally. A fetid smell filled the air.

Endymion shuddered. Behind him someone gagged.

The monsters that had run a minute ago returned, slinking back in from the shadows. Some appeared frightened, shuddering in the presence of their queen and remaining on the outer of the courtyard. Others appeared gleeful, practically dancing in towards her and bowing delightedly.

"This is bad." Luna murmured softly beside him, "She's already joined with Metallia. Even if we had the crystal in its whole form, we'd be hard pressed to defeat her like this."

"Can we separate them?" Artemis asked softly, his voice barely above a breath.

Whatever answer Luna would have given was cut off by Beryl's order, accompanied by a dramatic gesture; "Kill them! All of you!"

With a roar all the monsters leapt forwards, fangs bared and eyes alight, leaping on and over each other to obey their terrible queen.

Endymion lifted his sword, despair threatening – there was no way they were going to survive this. Not with the amount of non-combatants he had to protect. Not without the crystal, Not without Serenity – and where was she anyway? Shouldn't she have caught up by now?

He dived into the fray anyway, sword slashing, arcing, parrying and thrusting. He ducked, weaved, blocked, leapt and ran with everything he had, pushing back the enemy. On either side of him he was vaguely aware of Luna and Artemis doing the same. He could hear both Hayate and Andrew yelling, as they too joined the fray with fists and kicks.

He lunged, thrusting his sword into an enemy, barely registering its fall until he realised his sword was stuck. Swearing roundly, he jerked the sword trying to free it from the carcass, already aware of the creatures leaping for him – they were almost on top of him –

"JUPITER ELECTRIC STORM!" bright green lightning filled the area in front of them, crackling, arcing from one monster to the next, and disintegrating them, even in mid-air as they lunged.

For an instant, all was silent as eyes – blinking bright white spots from their vision - turned to the Thunder Scout, who stood on the top of a building nearby, looking down upon proceedings, and the General standing protectively next to her.

Jupiter stood, feet planted, arms folded and glared a truly terrifying glare at Beryl,

"Bring it on, Bitch!" she snarled.

Beryl merely chuckled and raised a hand, palm up and fingers spread before slowly clenching her hand, finger by finger.

The dust of the creatures shifted, lifting, swirling, and reforming into vague shapes that grew more corporeal by the second. Out of the dust of the creatures that Jupiter had killed, more rose.

Endymion sucked in a sickened breath as the monsters changed targets, going for Jupiter and Nephrite. He gasped in a lungful of air and was about to lunge after them when both Luna and Artemis lunged after him, dragging him back.

"Hey, what-?" he began, but both Lunar Agents grinned a little at him,

"Do you think they'd let her go in alone?" Luna asked gently, and Endymion turned back to watch as the wave of monsters crawled, ran or flew at Jupiter and Nephrite, neither of whom moved –

Except to smirk.

A wave of fire washed over their heads, the heat monstrous and unexpected; "MARS FIRE ENGULF!"

The fire washed away the enemies – turning them all to dust just as Jupiter had done.

All eyes now turned to Sailor Mars and Jadeite, standing together on a roof to the left of Jupiter and Nephrite. Mars's whole body was engulfed in flame, and it seemed she had directed it at their enemies. Jadeite stood just far enough away to not be burned by Mars's fire, but close enough to intervene should he feel it necessary. His sword glowed red in his hand.

Beryl laughed again, not at all put out, "I am so glad you decided to join us too, it would have been lonely without you, my dear boys!" she spoke to her once-generals, eyes cold.

Both Nephrite and Jadeite flinched, but stood firm, watching silently as she again lifted a hand. This time it was the mass of tentacles that served as her podium that answered her command, rising around her, writing for a second before thrusting out towards the two newcomers, ends sharp as knives.


Unlike the others, Mercury leapt in front of those she was defending with her attack, landing next to Mars, Zoisite doing the same, landing next to his brother general.

The tentacles – or vines – whatever the hell they were – froze solid, cracking sounds filling the air as Mercury's ice took hold.

"VENUS EMOTIONAL EXPLOSION!" cried a new voice, and Sailor Venus's golden chain slammed into the frozen plant-thing, cracking it in one pass, before sweeping back and disintegrating it on its second pass.

"It's the scouts!" Molly cried, delighted, "We're saved!"

Indeed, Sailor Venus had joined her team mates above them, Malachite at her side.

Endymion looked for the one person he wanted to see most, but couldn't find her amongst the shadows. He glanced at Luna. She rose an eyebrow and gave a tiny shrug.

"Saved, little human?" Beryl's voice echoed down to them from her perch on high, laughing softly, "Saved? Oh, no, I don't think so."

More monsters appeared, seemingly melting from the shadows at her command. Twice as many as before, and as varied as snowflakes, they came at her call, surrounding the little group on the ground, and appearing on the rooftops too, near the scouts. But that was all. They didn't attack, merely stood where they were and watched their enemies with beady, hungry eyes.

"We need to protect the civilians as much as possible." Endymion muttered to Artemis softly, slowly edging into an attack stance, watching the waiting monsters warily.

He saw Artemis nod before glancing up and making two quick signals with his left hand, and watched as his Generals each nodded and relayed his message to their Scout counterpart.

The signal had been simple, Civilians to safety.

The Generals dropped down to ground level, still eyeing the waiting monsters, and made their way over to Endymion. Ground was where they could do the most damage, while the scouts (with the possible exception of Jupiter) were better suited to ranged attacks from the roof tops. Endymion listened as Artemis and Luna relayed his orders to those behind them,

"Luna and I will lead you. Don't worry about the scouts or the Generals, just run." Artemis told them firmly.

Endymion checked on Andrew: his friend was up on his feet, looking a little woozy but alert enough.

"On my signal." Endymion murmured, glancing up at the scouts to make sure they understood their roles. All four of them were focused purely on Beryl. They would distract her enough for the others to get away, he hoped.

But where the hell was Serena?

Serena stood, quietly watching the scene. She had separated from the scouts only minutes previous, scouting ahead to determine the best route to the gate and had doubled back only seconds ago to behold the tableau. Her heart was beating painfully fast, and she wished with all her might that it had not come to this. For this - Beryl and Metallia, together – how could they survive this? It was more horrible than she had imagined – and her imaginings had been fairly awful.

And although every fibre of her being was screaming, shouting, bellowing at her to get out there and help them!She stayed where she was. She could see the quick, furtive messages being relayed to the scouts and the civilians. Endymion had a plan, or at least some semblance of a plan, and she wasn't about to charge in and ruin it. Instead she leapt quickly and quietly to a rooftop, so she could keep an eye on everyone.

With a flick of her wrist she called the crystals to her from where they had been, both hidden in her sub-space pocket and with Jadeite. They came, flowing to her through the air easily, and unnoticed by any of the others present, be they ally or enemy.


The crystals hovered about her, responding to her whim, and moving with her as she shifted further back into the shadows. Clenching her fists, she waited, the words of the old poem going aroundand around in her head, a haunting narrative to the scene slowly unfolding below.

The ancient orb of awesome power

From whence silver blessings shower.

But she still didn't understand what parts of it meant!

Below her, Endymion gave a signal, a small, furtive movement of his hand, and she tensed, watching as they – all of them – ran.Dashing towards and through the assembled ranks of monsters – startling the creatures as well as their leader if the look on Beryl's face was anything to go by.

Serena too, was nonplussed by the sudden, swift movement and felt her mouth drop open before closing it with a snap.

The Scouts, Generals and Lunar Agents moved to the perimeter of the group, throwing magical and physical attacks alike at their foes, driving them back, away from the civilians even as her friends and family made a break for the only exit of the square that stood unguarded.

It was, thankfully, part of the route she had mentally mapped out in her little scout ahead. She raised her hand, calling the Violet crystal to her. It danced into her hand, shining softly.

Protection. Yes, that's what they needed.

She didn't need to say any words, merely willed the little crystal to do as she asked, and it responded to its inheritors will joyfully and immediately, lifting into the air above her head before moving with her as she dropped off the side of a building into the crooked street below. As she landed it flashed brightly, lighting the whole area with its pretty lilac light, creating what could only be described as a tunnel of light along the street that her friends and family entered and ran along – but a tunnel that no monster could enter.

There was a resounding roar from the monsters as they gave chase to her friends and family. Serena watched with dark amusement as several monster were disintegrated by the wall of purple light. The others, learning from their allies mistakes, followed at a greater distance.

She fell into step beside Endymion who shot her a 'where-the-hell-have-you-been-I'm-really-angry-because-I-was-really-worried' look. She replied with an apologetic grimace, and checked on her family. Adrenaline seemed to be serving the exhausted humans well – they were not-quite sprinting, keeping pace with the admittedly slowed speed of the scouts.

They ran down the street, and at Serena's signal, turned left. The violet crystal followed them, extending its protective light and powers so that they ran within its shelter still.

"You did this, Serena?" Mars demanded from her right, not even breaking a sweat yet. Serena couldn't tell if her tone was surprised or annoyed – and didn't have time to look, so nodded with a huffed; "Yep."

Serena leaned into a corner as they sped around it, part of her mind concentrating on the road, another on the next turn they'd have to make and yet another was occupied keeping an eye on her family and friends.

They'd gone two blocks when the ground began shaking, buckling like a bronco at the rodea, and sending a few of them staggering into each other. A building ahead of them on their right collapsed into their path, crumbling and folding in on itself before toppling sideways. They skidded to a stop, Serena desperately searching her memory for an alternative route.

Just as she was opening her mouth to order everyone to turn around and head right, the rubble infront of them moved, shifting with the sound that only a great amount of earth can make, a low, heavy grinding that sent ice thrilling through her veins.

They peer through the dusty air, squinting in the dark.

Glistening wet tentacles curled up from the ruined building like venomous snakes, and Beryl and her coffin-companion followed, rising from within the rubble with ease, pushing it out of the way with the tentacles. She smirked down at them from cherry red lips, eyes glowing with a strange mix of irritation and glee.

"Running away isn't polite." The tentacles twitched on the word 'polite' showing how high Beryl's ire was.

Serena shifted, focusing on the crystal above her head, which was accordingly joined by the indigo crystal of power. The two lights melded together, forming a protective semi-transparent shield of blue power over the group.

This action drew Beryl's attention, and her gaze swung to Serena, who froze like a deer in headlights.

"Oh, yet another Lunar Agent?" she asked, lips quirked still in that smirk, as she shifted her gaze to the crystals still floating around Serena, "And one that knows crystal lore too. How convenient for all of you."

"I live to please." Serena snapped back, startled out of her fear and wondering why Beryl hadn't recognised her.

Beryl's gaze sharpened on her, something shifting in her stance as she looked at the blond dressed in white.

"Jupiter Thunderous Charge!"

At this point Jupiter took a leaf out of Mars' book, wreathing herself in crackling lightning before charging at the pile of rubble blocking their way, ploughing through it and sending pieces flying.

Serena took a chance while everyone was distracted, and leapt towards Beryl, the orange crystal smacking into her hand in mid-air. She held it like a knife, and as she reached the zenith of her jump she slashed diagonally at Beryl. There was no way the crystal itself could touch Beryl, she was nowhere near close enough for that, but an arc of orange magic burst from the gem in her hand and flew through several of the tentacles that Beryl was favouring as her weapon of choice for the moment.

Before Beryl had even had the chance to register what had happened, Serena had made slashing movements three more times, each time cutting through more of the tentacles – none of them aimed specifically at Beryl – not yet.

Serena landed easily on a nearby building, crystals whirling around her in a bright halo and called to her friends, "Go! I'll catch up!"

"But-" her mother started,

"Just go, follow the damn light!" Serena roared, and moved along the edge of the building, keeping her eyes on Beryl.

She glanced down in time to see Endymion'slips twist into a stubborn, familiar line and knew he at least wouldn't be leaving.

The Scouts however, obeyed her order automatically, months of training with that tone of command had conditioned them to obey her – no matter what form she was in. Serena doubted they even knew they were doing it. She darted in to distract Beryl again as they moved the others through Jupiter's cleared path, knowing that even without her there to tell them the route, the Generals would be able to get them to the gate. With a quick command from her the Indigo Crystal and the Violet continued with the group as they had.

She split her attention for too long, though, and a tentacle slammed into the grey stone building she was standing upon, only inches below from her feet. She automatically jumped away, processing the fact that Beryl had missed in surprise. Adding to that the twitch from earlier…

Beryl didn't have complete control of her powers. Interesting. Was Metallia being too much to handle, maybe?

Serena flung another two blades of orange magic at Beryl – scythes of vengeance itself curving through the air with two quick sweeps of her hand- before leaping sideways to bounce of another building and land behind Beryl even as the black/green tentacles completely destroyed her previous perch.

Beryl, it seemed, cared little for collateral damage.

Beryl was turning to face her, face livid, when Endymion darted in from the ground and slammed his sword into the base of her little tentacle tree-thing. Bush? Vine? Serena wondered at what term to use with the part of her mind that was always free to ponder – and comment on – erroneous things in dire situations.

Endymion's attack had an interesting effect on both Beryl and the thing in the coffin – they let out screams of pain – so loud, so dissonant, so unworldly that Serena actually had to fight the urge to block her ears, ducking and wincing as the wave of noise rushed over her.

It was instinctive, Beryl's reaction, the tentacles aimed at Endymion with deadly accuracy and pointed like knives, but Serena threw several more orange blades, blocking and protecting Endymion long enough for him to retrieve his sword and leap back to a more manageable distance from the tentacles. He blocked a couple blows as he moved with ease.

"Pathetic, measly worm of a man!" Beryl snarled, panting slightly, "You cannot hope to defeat me thus!"

Endymion rose an eyebrow at that; "How shall I defeat you then?" he asked – entirely too innocently before rolling sideways to avoid her physical reaction to his scoffing.

Serena threw another few blades of power from Beryl's other side to distract her, and copied Endymion's roll when Beryl in turn flung more vines at her.

The Lunar Agent couldn't help but pout a little as she came upright again. Attacking the tentacles really wasn't working. Not with a mere sword and a single crystal. She needed Sailor Moon's powers and wand. But the seconds it would take to transform she could not afford. Not this close to Beryl. They needed some serious distance between her and the queen before she could transform safely.

But she wasn't about to run away from this fight until she knew the others had at least made it to the gate. And leaving Endymion to fight alone was simply out of the question.

So, just keep Beryl busy, then. She let out an irritated noise before sharing these thoughts with Endymion via their telepathic link, and he concurred with her conclusion – adding fervently that he hoped the others were quick, their luck here wouldn't hold out for long.

Endymion then set up a pattern that they harried Beryl with for the next few minutes – attack at close range, dart out of reach, protecting each other as much as possible – swap positions and repeat, rotating around Beryl and forcing her to turn to meet their attacks. They didn't move far as the battle continued, staying within the general vicinity of the first roadblock, but more houses became collateral damage. Neither of the heroes saw any of the residents of the area and both wondered wherethe monsters were that had once lived here.

This plan worked for just under five minutes, until Serena darted in, this time aiming for Beryl's face with her slashes of power, and was promptly blocked by the vines Beryl controlled with mere thought and leapt back to retreat from the Queen's rage. She landed on a building about a hundred metres from Beryl. The building was tall and she risked a quick glance to the direction of the gate, looking for her friends, allies and family.

They were almost to the gate that stretched between the two towers. She could see the light from the violet crystal moving in the distance, almost to the base of the shadowy towers where the gate was situated. With a relieved breath she turned back in time to see Beryl twist sharply, lashing out with a speed she hadn't used yet, and send Endymion flying, a tentacle impacting his side.

"Endymion!" she cried, heart in her throat, as he was flung to the street level, creating a crater and a cloud of dust. He landed with a pained cry, clutching his left side, and Serena could already see the blood welling between his fingers.

She moved to go to him, but a wall of tentacles interrupted her movement, forcing her to dodge then roll away. She leapt backwards, glaring at Beryl.

Beryl kept up her attack on Serena, apparently willing to let Endymion recover by ignoring him for the moment. Her actions made no sense, but Serena had not time to ponder, as a barrage of attacks rained down on her. The tentacles were long and slightly unwieldy, but Beryl moved them quicker than any of her previous opponents had been able to move, forcing Serena to really change up a gear as she ducked, blocked, dodged and leapt out of the way – there was no time to counterattack, Beryl was too fast, too constant, driving her backwards, further away from Endymion.

Sweat was pouring down Serena's face now, and running in her eyes, but she dare not blink or try to wipe it away lest she miss an attack – they were coming from everywhere, left, right, back right, above, - below!

She leapt up and back, flipping out of the way as a tentacle erupted from the ground beneath her feet.

She skidded into an uncharacteristically ungraceful landing, panting and taking the chance to swipe sweat from her eyes. She also glanced in the direction of the gate home, and blinked, delighted to see it open. Hopefully their friends and family had made it through. She turned her attention back to the fight.

Beryl smirked, deliberately letting Serena know she was giving her a chance to catch her breath. Serena realised it then;

The Dark Queen was merely playing with them.

A thrill of white-hot anger ran through Serena and she didn't bother with any of the weapons or crystals at her disposal, just pointed a single finger at the evil queen and screamed her rage into a single spell-attack;


There was a pause of shocked silence as the large group of family, friends, scouts, generals and cat-humans exited the warp between worlds.

"Well, that's not good." Commented Hayate at last.

Mars shot him a sardonic look, "You really excel at stating the obvious, don't you?" she asked, though she too was peering in horror at the scene that lay before them. They had come through the portal on top of Tokyo tower, of all places. Its high red and white tiers gave them an uninterrupted view of their city, and the chaos that currently existed within the city limits.

Tokyo was besieged.

Above the sprawling landscape of towers and hills, the night sky lit almost continually with the flashes of artillery, the army obviously endeavouring to deal with the attackers. From every direction the sound of gunfire and grenades echoed, some muffled by the distance, some frighteningly close, all of them aimed at eradicating the threat.

It wasn't working.

Monsters of every shape and form roamed the city, ranging from the small, slug like worm similar to the one Serena had eyed askance in a tunnel earlier, to great lumbering beasts like Bunpo had been, and everything in between.

Jupiter wasted no time in launching herself to the edge of the tower, lightning crackling in her fingertips, only to be hauled back by Nephrite, who hooked an arm around her and turned to the group;

"Venus, Malachite, we need a plan of attack!"

Jupiter struggled against him, calling him some very creative and vulgar names, but he paid her no heed.

Venus wasted only a moment on hesitating, before she began barking orders to her girls, aware that Malachite was doing the same with the generals in Endymions absence.

"Mars, Gramps, will the new wards hold on the shrine? Keep the worst of them out?"

Gramps and Mars nodded, "Especially so if Mars is on site." Gramps confirmed.

"Right, Mars, I want you to take the civilian's and head to the Cherry Tree Hill Shrine. Collect any civilians you see on the way – you and Gramps will stay there and guard them, and anyone else we send to you – no don't you dare argue with me on this, Raye!"

Mars shut her mouth that had been about to utter some mutinous words, and let the blond continue.

"Luna, Artemis, I want you with them. Protect as many civilians as you can." Venus ordered and the the two Lunar Agents nodded and turned to organise the exhausted civilians.

Venus turned to Jupiter, "Jupiter, I want you on roof levels, blowing things up from a distance with that lightning."

Jupiter nodded and clenched a fist, pleased with her assignment.

Venus looked to Mercury, who already had her scanner eye-gear going even though her PC had been destroyed. , "Mercury, have you got any advice?"

Mercury frowned down at their surroundings, "It seems the Negaverse has gone for quantity, not quality. From what I can tell, most of these aren't as strong as any of the monsters we battled in the Negaverse. Certainly weaker than the Doom and Gloom Girls, and the Shadow Warriors."

They nodded to show they understood, and Venus nodded at both Mars and Jupiter,

"Off you go." She ordered, "Communicators on."

Jupiter let out a war whoop and leapt into the sky, lightning arcing across the heavens at her call already. She was followed quickly by Nephrite, whose sword was out of its sheath and ready to kill. Mars, Luna, Artemis and Gramps lead the bedraggled group down the inside of the tower, their heads disappearing below floor level quickly.

Venus continue without missing a beat. "Mercury, I want you up here calling the shots with those scanners of yours, tell us where it's worst and we'll head there."

The blunette nodded, all professionalism before she blinked, and suddenly she was little Amy Mizuno, peering out of worried eyes, "We wont be enough, Venus. We're only a handful of soldiers. Theres too many of them for us to beat."

Venus huffed a sigh of agreement, "We just have to hope Serenity awakens now we have all the crystals together." She said, and missed Mercury's twitch.

"What will you be doing?" the ice scout changed the subject.

Venus grinned, and with a flash her chain appeared in her hand, "I'll be on ground level, kicking ass!"

She turned and dropped off the tower, leaving Malachite to finish barking orders at the boys.

She landed, Malachite only an instant behind her, and charged the nearest monster – a great, big, fat, green, slimy slug.

"Ew!" she cried, and sent her chain racing in for the kill.


The power surged through Serena, more than she'd ever used in one go before, more than she knew she had, leaving her shaken and breathless in its wake. A tiny pinprick of light appeared at the end of her finger, before blossoming into a huge ball of white-gold light that sped towards Beryl faster than should have been possible for something so big.

Serena didn't wait to see if the spell landed, or did any damage at all, but dragged her protesting body into s run, speeding to Endymions side.

Endymion had pulled himself to his feet and was staring open mouthed at whatever it was she had done – Serena grabbed his arm and pulled him with her, her eyes turning towards the gate –

There was a strange, shrieking noise from behind them, loud, and reverberating. The sound seemed to cut through the thick air like a knife. The ground beneath their feet shook yet again, and she staggered, feeling Endymion falter beside her as well.

"What did you-?" Endymion began as he staggered into a dead run beside her, immediately realising her intentions as he too looked at the open gate more than a kilometre away.

Serena grunted as they leapt together to the top of a building that had not been destroyed by the skirmish – "No idea. Got cranky."

They leapt from building to building, using every ounce of their super-speed, heading straight for the gate. Even though they were running at break neck speed, even though they were fleeing a battle, Endymion still shot her a look that said 'seriously?'

Serena shrugged – or shrugged as best she could while running.

She was pretty sure she saw his lip twitch out of the corner of her eye.

They leapt from building to building, short bursts of flat out running in between houses or across streets before they were back up in the air again.

Behind them there was another shriek, this time a resounding, angry sound.

The gate was only metres away now. The ground before it was clear – there was no sign of their friends and family, and Serena prayed fervently that they had made it out.

When asked later, what made him turn, Endymion could never give a coherent answer. Just that he knew, somehow, that he needed to turn that way.

He spun left, one hand – his sword hand, clutched against his bleeding side, the other reaching inside his armour for a rose – the only weapon he could wield with his side as it was.

He didn't even know where to throw it, not really, his hand and arm did it all on its own, and pelted the rose, razor sharp stem first, into the inky darkness that swathed the area to this left.

It pierced Beryl's chest as she lunged out of the darkness, hands outstretched and reaching for them, hands like claws and a twisted snarl on her face. For an instant, he feared it had not worked, even as his startled mind caught up with what was happening, and he heard Serena's gasp from beside him.

But then Beryl faltered, her tentacles twitching, coiling and roiling upon themselves as she clutched at the weapon buried in her chest, gasping, a look of pure shock on her face. She collapsed to the ground, one arm managing toe catch her fall, and her dark eyes glanced upat them, disbelief written across her face as clear as day, even as the ground seemed to turn liquid and swallow her whole.

They thought, for just a second, that they heard her mutter something, but it was so low that neither of them could make it out.

The queen of darkness disappeared, and prince and princess looked at each other, askance.

"Could it really have been that easy?" Serena asked hope shining in her eyes.

Endymion shrugged, but his eyes betrayed his mistrust of events. She read the message there, and the hope faded from her own blue irises.

"Let's go," he said, quickly distracting her, "We need to catch up with the others."

Serena nodded and fell into step beside him, her fingers entwining with his unconsciously. Endymion squeezed her hand and together they stepped into the portal between worlds. There was a rushing wind, and thousands of colours mixed in a spiral around them before dissolving into light, then darkness. They landed, slightly unsteady on their feet, and took in the scene before them.

Endymion huffed a sigh, "I guess we know what happened to all the monsters that lived in those houses, back on the other side." He said, almost ruefully.

Serena, though horrified at the sight, ignored it for the moment and pulled out the yellow crystal, and pushing her will and energy into it, healed them both – concentrating on the bloody wound in Endymions side.

He blinked, and then smiled in gratitude before a voice called from their left.

"There you are!"

Lieutenant Yuichi Yamazaki ducked as the monster he and his troop were currently fighting let loose a barrage of what seemed to be some kind of organic bullets that drained ones life if struck. Magically drained your life. He was living in a fantasy novel written for pre-teens, he was sure of it. The next moment, a sparkly vampire would come around the corner.

"We are so screwed." Private Ichigawa said from beside him, pressed to the barrier of rubble and car parts they had hastily erected in an attempt to keep the monster contained within the one district.

The barrage continued overhead.

"At least this isn't as bad as down near the local shopping plaza," one of the other privates commented with false cheer, "I hear things down there are pretty damn frenzied."

Yuichi rolled his eyes – what did it matter where they were? They were all going to wind up dead anyway. There had been no word from HQ for two hours now, and more and more divisions were going dark – out of contact, somehow. Dead, probably.

There was a choked sound to his left, and another soldier fell, eyes rolling back in his head even as the spore seemed to sink into his skin, and an instant later he was dead.

Someone swore to his left, and he sighed.

"Whadda we gonna do, boss?"

It too Yuichi a second to realise they were talking to him – he was the highest ranking soldier here now.

Well, shit.

"We hold it for as long as we can. That's what we do." He barked in his best don't-mess-with-me voice.

"If you don't mind, I'd rather you left it completely to us. Your time would be better spent evacuating any citizens remaining in the area."

The voice was new, female, and young.

The whole platoon – or what was left of them turned to see a blond woman wearing an orange and white outfit stroll up to them. Stroll. Up. To. Them. As if she were out for a morning jaunt!

A tall man white deceptively white hair prowled protectively next to her, his face just as youthful despite the colour of his hair.

Yuichi had heard of the Sailor Scouts, of course, even seen the photos of them – but he had been of the mind that they were some sort of elaborate hoax or new advertising campaign.

But this young woman wasn't just wearing a costume. She was battered, bruised and a little bloody. So was the young man.

Sailor Venus rose an eyebrow when she received no response to her earlier comment.

"Oh, wow," one of the newer soldiers whispered, "You're real!"

Venus smiled a little, "Very real."

"Where the hell have you guys been?" someone else demanded.

Venus's amiable expression faded, "Busy," she said coldly, "Now, like I said, how about you get rid of the citizens here that need rescuing. Take them to Cherry Tree Hill Temple. They'll be safe there. So will you."

She didn't wait for a response, just stepped through them and over the barricade.

The pale man behind them grinned at them, the smile transforming his sour visage into a youthful amusement, "Best do what she says." He told them conspiratorially, "She gets cranky when you don't."

There was a flash of light from over the barrier, and Yuichi peeked over.

The monster was gone. Sailor Venus held a glowing chain.

"Err, right." He said, gesturing to his troops, "Let's go move some civilians."

AN: Hope the length of this makes up in some way for my lack of update. Am working on the next chapter, hope to have it out fairly soon. Having said that, don't expect it too soon – you know what I'm like!

Also, I've only quickly proofread the last part of this chapter. If there are any mistakes etc, let me know, and I'll fix them. I just wanted to post it!